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Qantaslink makes big regional play in NSW

If the NSW government policy setting on country flights was taken literally, it would expect additional passengers from rural towns to fly over Sydney in order to catch a non-existent fast train from Canberra to get to and from the harbour city.

Qantas media room image of a regional Q400 turboprop

Qantaslink is clearly circling the wagons in regional routes to fend off the marauding Virgins and their own turbo-prop expansion plans as they move closer to getting full ownership and control of Skywest.

The latest installment is a major play by Qantas for increased frequency and capacity using larger versions of the Dash 8 turbo-prop fleet on routes between Sydney and Tamworth, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour and Armidale.

There will also be a new much needed Qantas frequent flyer lounge at Tamworth.

These are the key points:

The announcement was accompanied by frankly useless endorsements from NSW deputy premier, Andrew Stoner, since both he and his premier would be well aware of the repeated warnings from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, and just about everyone else in the airline game, that the state must stop talking cr*p about Sydney airport and do something meaningful and immediate to get more airport capacity into the Sydney basin.

If Mr Stoner’s government’s policy setting on this is taken on its face value, he would expect new Tamworth travellers to fly over Sydney to Canberra to catch a non-existent fast train to get to the harbour city.

So long as the NSW government persists with such rubbish its credibility on airport issues is zero.

On the broader competitive canvas, Qantaslink is taking prudent strategic steps to defend its dominance in regional NSW aviation against the expansionary plans of Virgin Australia, not to mention Tiger starting A320 flights between Coffs Harbour and Sydney.

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  • 1
    Creeper
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Where is the logic in Tiger flying a A320 to Coffs? They are literally giving away seats on this route at the moment.

    It was a bizarre route choice.

  • 2
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    My guess is that with the seats on a Q400 being as miserable as those on an 180 seat A320, but more expensive, Tiger is hoping to encourage people to choose being torture tubed in a jet rather than a turbo-prop.

  • 3
    Ken Borough
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Ben

    Don’t be too hard on our hard-working pollies: they are only as good as their spin-doctors!

    Yes, it would be ludicrous to fly TMW/CBR when your destination is Sydney. Does a second Sydney airport really imply the closure of KSA? I can envisage KSA being to SYD what LCY is to London. The mind boggles at the opportunities that that could offer 24/7

    Cheers.

    Ken

  • 4
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    The old inner city basket weaver dream of closing the current airport to banish the jets to the bush, meaning Badgerys Creek, is long dead. Thank goodness. Whatever Sydney chooses to be, a stagnant city of 4 million with one hopeless airport, or a growing city of 7 to 8 million with two Sydney basin airports, the existing airport will continue to be in high demand.

  • 5
    Bear
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Ben… as you say, KSA will continue to be in high demand. To the extent that I believe Badgerys will be a Great White Elephant for many, many years after it is completed – assuming of course that that ever comes to pass.

    Think Milan-Malpensa which only recently became viable (sorta…). And it had/has a very wealthy & industrial catchment, consisting of all of northern Italy and southern Switzerland, rather than just… well… the Greater Sydney Metro Area, Hunter, Blue Mtns & the Gong.

  • 6
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Pretty good point. But imagine what air travel demand in northern Italy would be like without a huge rail network offering a multiplicity of convenient connections all over central Europe and the rest of Italy.

  • 7
    ltfisher
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the ‘facts’ about Milan’s Malpensa it does have a dedicated express train linking the city and the airport and unlike some so-called airport trains this one actually has provision for passenger luggage..and I don’t mean overhead racks incapable of being used by anyone but trainee weightlifters.

  • 8
    ghostwhowalksnz
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Think of Montreal , its new ( for the olympics in the 70s) airport at Mirabel is now only used for cargo and as Bombardier aircraft assembly. 55km from downtown was a bit too far. But of course Badgery Creek at 65-75 km is no problem ?

  • 9
    caf
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got to say that I’d much rather take a Virgin E190 than a Qantas Dash-8 on the CFS route.

  • 10
    Mark Parker
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Ghost,
    Maybe you’re missing the point re the need and purpose of Badgerys Creek – it’s not about an airport to service the CBD/North Sydney/Chatswood clique. It’s about servicing the emerging economic region that exists around, SW-of, W-of, and NW-of Parramatta. And as I noted in an earlier post by Ben – this isn’t just about those who live in Sydney.

    I’ve looked at my 5 most recent trips to Sydney – including this week – and on 4 of those trips, an arrival option at BC would have cut close to 90 minutes per trip from my airport-destination commute – 90 minutes per trip is not insignificant – it’s a massive amount of time being stuck in the bullshit that is firstly getting out of the existing airport, then Redfern (or the ED if you are truly stupid), Parramatta Rd, M4, or the M2 (please don’t start me on this!).

    Yeah, an airport that’s a good 70-100 minutes from where a lot of people need to be – no problem…

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